Hello, Busy Brains!
It has been a season or two since I have posted, and boy I am I grateful for winter after a summer and fall of chaos (good chaos) and running around. It is true that summer and fall are the energetic, busy seasons, and winter follows them for a good reason. Winter is meant to be a season of repair, rest, hope, and preparation for what’s to come and blossom in the spring. Winter is a blessing in disguise. The darkness tells us to sleep longer, stay inside with loved ones more, and dream about our spring desires.
What are your spring desires? Does the winter leave you feeling blue? You are not alone on the second question. The prolonged darkness is a little to blame here, as well as the isolation the colder temperatures seem to influence. Despite these few limiting factors, the winter is a gift and meant to be enjoyed. It is an excuse to take an earlier break, rest longer, and spend more time at home. If you are feeling particularly blue this season, here are a few helpful tips to cheer you up:
- Shine a little light: Try to get outside often (bundled up of course) and enjoy the winter beauty and sunlight. You can buy a mood lifting light to use wherever you are when days are darker. Light therapy has been shown to help reduce feelings of sadness in people with Seasonal Mood Affective Disorder. You can buy them on Amazon, like this one:
2. Start dreaming for Spring: Make a list of goals or visions of things you want to tackle in the spring, maybe a business venture or a personal hobby. Imagining your potential will help lift your spirits and get you feeling creative.
3. Indulge the senses in some self-care: Take more hot baths, spend time meditating and doing yoga in candlelight, eat nourishing, warm foods and drink hot, herbal teas. Giving back to yourself will leave you feeling full and rested.
4. Connect with the people closest to you: On cold nights, stay in and have a game or movie night. Talk closely with loved ones over a fire and re-connect after a busy week at work. Feeling close to loved ones naturally boosts mood!
Coming from someone with a mood disorder, winter can get dark and dreary if you let it. The tips seem obvious, but they are great reminders. I think winter is also a death of a season and a rebirth of a new one. We can examine our own habits, behaviors and possessions in this way, too. It is a time to let go of something that is no longer serving us, lay it to rest, and make room for something new to grow.
Just this fall, my fiancé and I moved to a new state, got completely new jobs, and began searching for a home to buy. My sister and best friend got married and I began wedding planning for myself. In just three short months, I have transitioned into a career role I am really enjoying, as a yoga therapist and personal trainer. The busyness of the fall, although very positive, left me very tired. I am grateful to take this winter to rest and recover so I can leap into spring like a tiger!
I decided to take a very big step and slowly reduce down off my last medication. I have been on psychiatric medications since I was eight years old after an early OCD diagnosis (long story, but it is what led me to this blog and yoga ;)). By January first I will be medication free. To put it in perspective, I was on six different medications in 2015. Over the last five years, (more specifically, the last two years) I have studied my mind and habits diligently and learned to turn off the running thoughts that caused so much suffering. Through a dedicated and disciplined lifestyle of balanced living and yoga, I was able to reduce my medications more and more (I want to be clear that I am not promoting going off all medications, rather I support them and believe each individual is truly unique). To me, this winter is a huge death of a coping mechanism that sometimes worked well for me, and sometimes caused me lots of pain, but I am grateful and hopeful for the rebirth of new habits towards maintaining a balanced and medication free life! The truth is, yoga and wellness towards whole person well-being is a practice, and we must continue to work towards it to achieve it.
My hope is that all of you use this Winter as a time to rest, repair, and DREAM. Dream of what is to come and be grateful for those who are around you. When you notice yourself feeling blue, remember: our moods are constantly changing, just like the seasons. If we become attached to these emotions, we will suffer. Reduce suffering by letting go, and doing something you enjoy/need/crave.
I wish everyone the most joyous holiday season and look forward to the New Year! See you in 2018!!!
Now, go dream!
Lots of love,